10-man Rovers return to the Football LeagueBy Jake Mathot
Tranmere Rovers will be playing in the Football League Two next season after beating Boreham Wood in the most dramatic and unbelievable circumstances.
Rovers were on the front foot immediately from the start despite Boreham Wood kicking off, when all of a sudden Liam Ridehalgh was sent off for a tackle on Ricky Shakes.
Nevertheless, it was Tranmere who took the lead, with Rovers not losing their heads following the dismissal.
Jeff Hughes, playing his last game for the Club, dinked the ball down the left flank allowing Norwood time to whip in a delicious ball for Andy Cook to add to his 27 goals for the season.
It would be expected that Rovers would be on the back foot for the majority of the game and they did sit back for the remainder of the half, relying on miss placed passes and set plays for their brief moments on the ball.
They were not out of the game however, they were resolute and of course had the lead. Despite the man advantage for Boreham Wood, Rovers look pretty comfortable at maintaining their pressure.
The unfortunate Larnell Cole was sacrificed in the opening 10 minutes to enable Eddie Clarke to take Ridehalgh's vacancy.
Rovers were then forced into a second substitution as Josh Ginnelly suffered a head injury during the celebrations.
Things then got even worse in first half injury time as Ritchie Sutton was forced off with an injury meaning Rovers would have to withstand the 11 players of Boreham Wood for at least another 45 minutes without the options to freshen the defence.
For all their possession, Boreham Wood did not seem to be able to break through the rugged Rovers defence, but to rub salt into Rovers wounds, they struck an equaliser in the eighth minute of injury time, when only 6 minutes were initiated.
Danny Woodards found space on the left of the area and he cut the ball back for Bruno Andrade to hit his fourth goal in four games against Rovers.
The second half looked to be a backs to the wall job for Tranmere yet this wasn't the case.
On the contrary, it was a very balanced second half in which Rovers enjoyed the first opportunities of the half, with substitute Connor Jennings breaking free and firing at Grant Smith before pulling a shot wide a couple of minutes later.
Boreham Wood's first chance of the second half was a freekick which Scott Davies did well to turn around his near post.
Norwood had a half chance after fantastically controlling the ball on his chest but he dragged the shot wide before Boreham Wood seemed to be starting to take advantage of their extra man, almost getting through on a couple of occasions with Rovers living dangerously from fatigue.
But, with less than 10 minutes remaining, Connor Jennings broke free before curling in a delightful ball from the right and James Norwood got just enough power on his header, as Rovers fans jubilantly watched trickle over the line.
Ten tired bodies behind the ball, tension throughout the stadium, balls constantly pumped into the Rovers penalty area- all of which were overwhelmed by the noise of the fans that did not stop throughout, from the first minute, acting as the eleventh man and finally getting Rovers over the line.
It is hard to quite imagine just how much determination and belief the Rovers players needed to grind this with so many things going against them- but they produced when needed, proving Rovers are back where we belong.